Youth skipper aims to make an impression

UNDER-18s captain Ray Grant is determined to use past experience to his advantage when the Canaries face Doncaster Rovers in the FA Youth Cup Third Round at the Keepmoat Stadium tonight (7pm).

The midfielder formed part of the City squad beaten in the Fourth Round by Watford last season, and told “Personally, I’ve got a couple of things to put right.

“It was a disappointing year last year in the Youth Cup but we’re 100 per cent ready to go and are as prepared as ever. Jerry [Gill] has prepared us well and fingers crossed it’s enough on the night to see us through.

“We treat every game the same here, and know what we have to do to be in the hat for the next round. It’s a magnificent stadium, so hopefully we’ll show how good we are by going there and taking full advantage of it be playing the game rather than the occasion.

“It’s a massive experience which the boys are looking forward to, and we have to show what we are about.”

The likes of Grant also benefit from the knowledge gained from facing a comparable side to Rovers at the same stage of the competition last year in the form of Preston North End.

Despite being held to a draw over the course of 90 minutes the Canaries eventually ran out emphatic 6-1 winners in extra-time, and Grant said: “Preston was a tough game, and I don’t think you can go into any game expecting it to be comfortable, especially when it’s a team up North.

“Doncaster will want to produce in front of their staff and show they’re ready for first team opportunities. At the end of the day we’ve got quality in the dressing room; the lads have got belief and we couldn’t have a bigger incentive than having people coming to watch us.

“It’s a big incentive to prove a point, which is massive for us. The gaffer [Neil Adams] is going to be up there, as is Ricky Martin, so we have to show them what we’re capable of producing.

Although the 18-year-old embraces the opportunity to captain the side, he stressed the importance of a collective effort, commenting: “I’ve always felt I don’t really need the armband to show what I’m about and lead by example.

“We’ve got a couple of players who can lead so I just play my own game, and if that means getting someone through the match then I’ll do that. The boys know individually we have to be on the top of our games and win our individual battles, but everybody has to sacrifice themselves for the team.

“We’ve got the character in there to do that, and aren’t fazed by how any other team is going to play. It’s about us on the night; if we play well we’ll go through.”

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